Saturday, January 29, 2011

:boxing: Quick Pick! ::01.29.11:: Bradley vs Alexander

Tonight, the big fight between WBO Light Welterweight Champion Timothy Bradley and upstart WBC Champion Devon Alexander takes place at the Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan on HBO--but you might not totally get its weight with the amount of people set to attend. But for now, let's set aside the decision to hold the match far away from either man's respective domains of California or Missouri (and thus robbing it of potential ticket sales and good word-of-mouth at either location, or even at Las Vegas or Atlantic City) and the poor attempt at emulating the Pacquiao-Cowboys Stadium dynamic (while known names among boxing fans, neither are crossover stars like Pacquiao and aren't ready to fill stadiums, yet) and just focus on the night's proceedings…

Thursday, January 27, 2011

:anime: First Impression:: Oreimo Ep. 8

<--To Oreimo, Ep. 7

The face of a soul shattering into a million pieces…

After a hiatus for "Decade's Best", year-end write-ups, and other postings, HD's reviews of Oreimo pick up right where they left off at with Ep. 8's!

OreimoEp. 8 - "My Little Sister Can't Be Animated"

With Kirino's novel being a success, the publishers have decided to turn it into an upcoming anime. The budding author takes Saori and Kuroneko along with her to the production meeting with the staff and producers, where her giddiness over the show and eager requests are brought down in flames by the hard-nosed screenwriter and reality. After the story is picked apart, ground through the mill, and suggested for alterations--including making the little sister-loving lead into a male--Kirino's spirit is thoroughly crushed.

Monday, January 24, 2011

:anime: Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick of the Month:: RideBack


Official Sites: English
Additional Links: Tokyo MX Page, ANN Entry
Video [Free]: FUNimation Videos, Hulu, Anime News Network

Last month, I recommended Highschool of the Dead (which was also reviewed last week), Madhouse's adaptation of the manga which prominently featured two subjects not normally (if, really, ever) covered by the studio: zombie horror and heavy fanservice. It was a stark departure for them, even with the sheer number of works they have produced that spread across the spectrum, but it was not the only uncharacteristic title they made of recent. In the prior year, RideBack debuted in January 2009, representing Madhouse's first real mecha-centric work in their near 40-year history. While the subject of robots, in general, is not foreign to the studio (Metropolis, Battle Angel/GUNNM, Chobits), a production with people piloting mecha is not something they have done before (Patlabor WXIII notwithstanding, which more of an investigative drama and bereft of mecha action until briefly at the end). But at the same time, RideBack is not your typical mecha show…

Thursday, January 20, 2011

:anime: Final Impression:: Highschool of the Dead

Review: Highschool of the Dead (High School of the Dead)

Official Sites: Japanese
Additional Links: ANN Entry
Video [Free]: The Anime Network (Ep. 1 is available to everyone at the "Guest" level, and Eps. 2 and beyond for those who register, which is at no cost), Hulu

When coming across the trailer for Highschool of the Dead last summer, there were a few things that stunned me about it--none of which involved its content of zombies and big boobs. For one, I was really impressed by it. I'm no fan of the horror genre, much less shows with heavy fanservice, and in both cases, there have been many a cheap and paltry entry. But with HOTD, it was quite clear that a lot of effort went into the production and presentation of it with its stunning animation and color palette, with its intensity pouring out of the screen. Its character designs were easy on the eyes, too, and with all of the frantic action and fluidity, what started as a curiosity over its title became a hot anticipation for a show screaming "greatness" and "instant hit".

So I was also quite stunned to see Madhouse's name pop up during it. It certainly explained the high level of artistry on display, but for a studio that has covered a wide swath of genres, horror (of the zombie variety) and fanservice are two that they have very rarely done. And that they decided to put this much effort into a show with both (and an admittedly/purposefully-schlocky title) was especially puzzling. Not that the studio has a "snobby" reputation, but given their pedigree, one might naturally assume that this type of material would be "beneath them". On top of that, Death Note director Tetsuro Araki and big-time screenwriter Yousuke Kuroda (Honey & Clover, Gungrave, Hellsing Ultimate, Infinite Ryvius) were attached to it, furthering the notion that nothing added up. At least at first glance, as what unfolds is a well thought-out and -presented tale with depth all around--as well as one of the best anime of 2010.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Compare & Contrast:: 2009 Predictions vs 2010 Reality…

As noted in last week's 2010 lookback/2011 look-forward, a surprising amount of the predictions made for 2010 happened to come true during the year…well, sort of. In this addendum to "2010, Fade Out… 2011, Fade In…", we'll be looking back at each of the predictions made at the end of 2009 and how much did (and didn't) come to past in 2010…

Monday, January 03, 2011

2010, Fade Out… 2011, Fade In…

2010 turned out to be a pretty nice one, both personally and for the site.  Much of the first half of the year saw the realization of one of my biggest goals in covering the pattern of dark-skinned characters in anime that have been shot in the head. Aside from the lull in late-summer (writer's block?), everything went fairly well, and the discussion thread experiment, while not a total success (only the ANN one got going), proved interesting. Of course, I would have done a few things differently, but overall, given its scope and size, it went well.

The second half of the year was perhaps the most pivotal for HardDoor, to-date. A completely new design, an improved layout, the start of HD's Twitter page and its integration into the site (a big, big addition itself, begun a month to the day before, and in honor of, HD's fourth anniversary), the introduction of anime reviews, as well as a greater emphasis on using pictures in posts (first tested with "Blacks & Head Shots in Anime") have all been implemented for the blog, which have certainly helped in making the blog more accessible and looking nice, as well as raising its awareness.